Untold story of Nigeria’s Best Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeon, Dr. Makusidi | + How he got his Ph-D @ 25 | …Tells Asabeafrika story of his life in Minna

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Dr. Makusidi to Asabeafrika...'Investing in Quality Health is one of the prime perogatives of our Government in Niger State'
Dr. Makusidi Mohammed Mohammed, an Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon is one of the famous personalities in Niger State, in Nigeria’s North Western part.
 This slim framed medical expert is the Permanent Secretary of the state’s Ministry of Health and one personality who has earned himself great respect and love among many Nigerlites who have benefitted from his medical expertise.
 Former Governor and Chief Servant of Niger State, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu elevated him to the position of a permanent secretary in 2013.


For your information, Dr. Makusidi is not an ordinary doctor as his area of specialization is very, very rare and sensitive. He is an ear, nose and throat surgeon and one of the best in the Nigerian Medical industry. The former Medical Director of Ibrahim Babangida Specialist Hospital, Minna is an all round Nigerian citizen.
Dr. Makusidi who earned his Doctorate Degree at age 25 studied far and near before he settled down in Niger State to rescue the health sector of his state of origin and equally bring it to the best level of medical appreciation. The Wushishi born Medical guru who studied in three universities i.e. Utman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, University of Nigeria, Enugu, University of Ibadan Teaching Hospital, Oyo state and University of Lagos Teaching Hospital, Lagos is a walking encyclopedia in medicine and ENT Surgery.
His popularity in the Niger state health sector is also second to none as it is said that top elites and even ordinary people from within and outside Niger state have benefitted from his mastery at one time or the other.
Your Africa’s Number 1 Celebrity Encounter Blog Asabeafrika had a historic encounter with Dr. Makusidi during one of our visits to Niger state recently and today we feel proud to share the rare encounter with our teeming readers across the world.
 The Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon who was in a tight meeting with some guests and staff of his ministry when  this blog visited  did not only gave us a good part of his time but he equally  did justice to each question we threw at him on the state’s health development plan.
 Get your favorite snack and drink as you read the story of Nigeria’s most gifted ENT Surgeon Dr. Makusidi Mohammed Mohammed only on Asabeafrika. Enjoy!  

Dr. Makusidi (Only one in suit) among his fellow PMs in a pose with Ex-Governor & Chief Servant, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu

  


Dr. Makusidi giving a Vote of Thanks on behalf of his 19 Colleagues after being confirmed by ex-Gov & Chief Servant Dr. Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu as Perm Sec.

Who is Dr. Makusidi?
I am Dr. Makusidi Mohammed Mohammed. I am an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeon. Before now, I have headed IBB Specialist Hospital in Minna, which is the only tertiary health care institution under Niger State. And with God’s infinite mercy coupled with the support from government and other stake holders, we were able to regain the lost glory of the place. In fact, we have achieved more than hundred percent of what it used to be because that hospital at inception twenty years ago was only a two department hospital which is urology (Deals with Kidney and excretory organs) and orthopedic (Deals with bone factures) department. It was the grace of God and profound confidence reposed in me when I was appointed as Chief Medical Director that helped us. We equally put forward a proposal on how to transform the place into a modern institution. Initially, it was under NAM City but when we came on board, the state took over the operation of the hospital. So, we presented a proposal to expand the scope of the clinical services to incorporate all the fields of medicine. Because we found out that it is not only two departments that Nigerlites and the entire Nigerian populace need, we need more than that. And the proposal was overwhelmingly accepted. We also brought out a proposal that the place should be renamed. The name should be changed from specialized hospital which is narrower bound to specialist hospital which is broader and with a vision to transform the center to a teaching hospital and that transformation has been ongoing. We have been quietly uplifting the center and actually it is one of the activities there that God used to manifest His plans for me to become a Permanent Secretary in Niger state. I also want to believe that it is my performances there that brought me to the limelight. While I was in that center after expansion of the scope of activities, for the first time, we were able to get a conglomerate of consultants from all fields of medicine. Initially, on part time basis, they come and go but right now, we have consultants in all the four major discipline of medicine. And that has given us the confidence to approach the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria to approve the center for internship. With our cream of consultants, we have two of them in nephrology; they deal with kidney diseases and treatment. We also convinced the government to establish a dialysis center where people with kidney diseases are treated and apart from other departments, that department has significantly reduced the referral of patients within Niger and outside Niger state to a very large extent. So, you can imagine if somebody supposed to do dialysis in Egypt, how much will it cost him having it done here in Niger state? We found out that we are also one of the best centers with the best machines for all sort of medical engagements.

The GDA meets Dr. Makusidi in his Office in Minna, Niger State
“Although I am not a young man, at 40, who will now say you are young? (My White hair) is a gift from God and it is one of those things that make people to wonder at my personality”

We have six solid machines. These are just some of the achievements in IBB Specialist Hospital. We record several breakthroughs in surgery too because we even carried out what we call “total laryngectom” at IBB Specialist Hospital which is the surgery of removing somebody’ throat and reconstructing it. These kinds of surgeries have been performed and much other surgery exploits at IBB Specialist Hospital. Also, we collaborated with stakeholders like institutions, individuals who come in, either as free healthcare providers or NGOs and other high level visiting health care givers. We also have an organization called Grassroots Initiatives (GI) it is a small health organization that operates on cleft, pallet and lip patients. They offer numerous services to the state government. Then, in recent times the state government also sponsors free eye care services in collaboration with MTN Foundation, where over ten thousand people benefitted. Two thousand cataract surgeries were done freely. Many of such healthcare delivery services were offered courtesy of government in collaboration with IBB Specialist Hospital and the NGOs and other related organizations. We also collaborated with an institution like National Hospital, Uthma-Dan-Fodio University Teaching Hospital. We are even proposing in the long run, to have a Kidney transplant facility to be implemented at IBB Specialist Hospital. Now, if you come down to the secondary health care level, you might have heard that, there are three general hospitals that were built in the three senatorial zones during the regime of Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu

Dr. Makusidi Mohammed Mohammed...'I was raised in a humble home in Wushishi'

Could you tell us about them?  
They are built at Wuse, Gulu and Nasko. All fitted with state-of-the-art-equipments. Government equally upgraded some rural hospitals to general hospitals with all needed modern equipments fitted within. Then employment in the Niger State health sector has improved with government’s determined effort to improve the staff strength
 We recently employed almost three hundred professionals cutting across all cadres; consultants, medical officers, registrars, nurses, laboratory experts and many more. This has boosted the state’s health sector capacity in terms of strength of manpower. Just recently, we had an orthopedic surgeon employed in the hospital (IBB Specialist) to boost the clinical strength of that department. That is for manpower development. Now, in terms of remuneration, government also approved the CONMESS Government package which has caused dissatisfaction in most states in the federation. This has really reduced brain drain in the medical sector in Niger state. Today, Doctors in Niger state don’t see any reason again to go in search of any greener pasture because the greener pasture is already here for all. I can’t remember the last time medical personnel left the employment of the state for America, Brazil, London or any of the places professional medical experts loves to go. And the government is doing her possible best to keep their own part of the package and even do more. We are also proposing for more welfare packages that will give an enabling environment for people to practice. Now, if you go down to the primary health care level, you will find out that there is this general awareness going on because the hallmark of medicine now is toward preventive medicine. And preventive medicine is only addressed at primary care level; and we also mitigate mobility and mortality that could arise from some diseases right away from there.

Dr. Makusidi to Asabeafrika...'We have the talent and discretion to create the best yet quality health system in Nigeria. Our Government can do it'

So, in collaboration with MDGs, the state government has been able to do her own part either in terms of funds or building of infrastructures or in providing manpower to boost the activities at the primary health care centers, which are the most efficient channels to mass health development. And I can tell you that everybody is carried along, both the healthcare workers, the local traditional leaders and the religious people because there is serious awareness campaign which is being attended to by the Primary Health Care Development Agency of the state. Every month, there is a campaign on immunization which is broadcasted on the radio, television and published in the newspapers. I can’t remember when last we reported the case of polio in Niger State. Incidence of polio could only be related with people that are on transit or from the neighboring states. Again, the state is very strict with it determination to make sure that  health experts are up and doing to ensure that neighboring states are taken into consideration in our external health care strategy. You know we share border with states like Zamfara, Abuja, Kebbi and the rest. So we make sure that immunization is at maximum via social awareness, educational campaign in schools and other sources of information dissemination. We equally have legal mechanism to punish anybody that defaults or refuse his or her child immunization. The Government frowns at such anti-social-health care attitude. If you are caught or we get to know, you will be adequately punished. Fund wise, infrastructure wise, the state has really helped us achieve a lot. Because health is key to our Vision 3:2020 dreams. In our own sector, our chief aim is to reduce maternal and child mortality to the barest minimum through the provision of affordable, accessible, acceptable and mostly effective healthcare delivery service.  And again, we also want to change the trend as regard the rated lifespan of an adult which is rated at 54 now by the World Health Organization, we want to raise that life span from 54 to 75 years by year 2020. How are we going to achieve that, through quality but cheap and accessible health care provision because health is key. For there to be development in the social state, we need a healthy citizen. A healthy citizen will be able to play a great role. Health is key to our vision 3:2020 because when you have a healthy environment, you will definitely have a productive environment and that is why we are up and doing in Niger State Health Sector, to make sure that our vision 3:2020 becomes a reality.

Dr. Makusidi among his colleagues taking his oath of office as New Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Niger State on August 12th, 2013.
Dr. Makusidi to Asabeafrika...'The art of correcting and re-constructing the Ear, Throat & Nose is my basic discipline but i also appreciate General Medicine'


During my inspection at one of your wards in the Hospital yesterday, I  discovered that most of the patients in your emergency wards are majorly from neighboring states of Zamfara and some even coming from as far as Kano state, are we now seeing a Niger state that can be described as the hub of  health tourism in Nigeria?
Thanks for the observation; that is part of our vision, to make Niger State a medical tourist center. You see, there are some free health care delivery packages for Nigerlites, I mean the populace. Especially the pregnant women; we have free delivery services for them. So, that has reduced the fear of people not being able to come to the hospital because of heavy fees. In fact, we are even giving them some incentives just to encourage them to be able to come out and get their antenatal treatments and deliver safely. We say ‘come out, tell your friends to come and have their delivery, you wont be paying a dime to deliver’ and that has been helping them and make them to come in order to reduce complications of labor which has often lead to death. So, that has helped us in reducing maternal mortality. Now, our charges and fees so to say are very, very friendly. In fact, you won’t even believe it if someone else tell you this. I had to let you know this because people have asked me this question times without number, if you see  our charges for instance at IBB Specialist Hospital and similar health institutions in the state, you would ask this question “how are you people able to make ends meet?”. But of course, government is passionate about health issues in Niger state. So, I can tell you that the Governor is doing his own part and despite the fact that the price of sustaining a good health system in Niger state is challenging, government has no choice than to undertake this very important task. If you ask an average Nigerian to pay Ten Thousand Naira for health service, he jumps up and will prefer to go and die because he can’t imagine where he is going to get that amount. So, the political sacrifice on the part of government is there, the manpower is dedicated, committed and above all, hard working. Then the Chief Servant is also supplementing, in fact the dialysis center is subsidized to every Nigerian, unlike in other places where such health gesture is strictly for the citizen. In Niger state, wherever you come from, we subsidize to the barest minimum. Any body, Ibo, Yoruba, Itsekiri, you are welcome unlike in other states where such gesture is only limited people from the state. So, that is the reason why you noticed that non-indigenes make more of our visitors. Those are some of the things we do that bring us to the limelight and turn us to a medical tourism state in Nigeria. People from Abuja, you see them coming down to have their dialysis, people from Kano, from Zaria and other places. The reason is not far fetched, in Niger state, we don’t ask you to fill your state of origin on the form, we just ensure that you are a Nigerian and you are entitled to quality medical services. 

“What is right should be done right; we have the talent, we have the money, we have the discretion and freedom to use it right, so, why can’t we invest in health sector? It takes small money; the surgery services I told you we offer at IBB Specialist Hospital, Minna, if you go to a private hospital, it cost almost Two Million Naira. But if you come here it doesn’t cost more than a hundred and fifty thousand or thereabout”

Dr. Makusidi to Asabeafrika...'In Niger State, Good Health comes first before money'

Kindly tell me more about yourself?
Well, as I earlier said, I am Dr. Makusidi Mohammed Mohammed. I was born into the family of late Alhaji Makusidi who is a pioneer educationist in my local government, Wushishi Local Government.
You mean the same Wushishi that produced General Wushishi?
Yes, General M.I Wushishi is my father because he was a friend to my late father. I attended three primary schools, three secondary schools and three universities.

Dr. Makusidi to Asabeafrika...'People think i am older than my looks but i am indeed younger'

What has 3-3-3 got to do with your life?
I started Primary school in Makusidi, then central primary school, Kontagora and finished up at Wushishi Primary school because my father was moving from one place to another as a Civil Servant. Then, for secondary school, I started at Wushishi Government school then called Pilot Secondary school. Then I moved to Government Secondary School, Pegina and I finished up in Government Science College, Kadara all in Niger state. Then I proceeded to Utman Dan Fodio University, then called University of Sokoto, before I graduated it became Utman Dan Fodio University. In the university (Utman Dan Fodio) there are three campuses, we have the Tundaye (Main Campus) we have the City Campus and Fodio Campus. I did my first year at the main campus and ended up at the City Campus as a technical student then at the  Teaching Hospital Campus which is also located at another destination, and that is why I called it ‘three zone school’. I graduated in 1998 and bagged some awards; The State Government Awards (As Best Medical Student) which comprise the new Zamfara and Sokoto state. I did my internship at Minna General Hospital and that was the time I started seeing that there are a lot of challenges and that my services were seriously needed at home (Niger State). Then, after my internship, I now went for my residency program which was done partly in Sokoto because Sokoto as at that time, there was no center that was accredited to give training in my area of specialization (Ear, Nose and Throat). So, I now proceeded to the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu where I did most of my trainings. I did some at University of Ibadan Teaching Hospital and some at University of Lagos Teaching Hospital. I went and did what is called temporal bone dissection course there. So, I did part in Sokoto, part in Ibadan and part in Lagos. I thank God for making all the experiences work out for me. Thereafter, I worked briefly as a lecturer in the medical school and also as visiting consultant to National Ear Care Center, Kaduna. Thereafter, I moved down to Niger state and shortly after my moving to Niger state, within one month, I was appointed as the Chief Medical Director of IBB Specialist Hospital that was in February 2010. And since then, we have been able to revamp the center and brought back integrity to the hospital until now that I am appointed as the Permanent Secretary, Niger state Ministry of Health.

Dr. Makusidi Mohammed Mohammed

Tell us a bit about your family?
I am married with a wife and four children. One of my children just graduated from secondary school. So it says a lot about me.
I learnt the day you were inaugurated as PM, the Governor said you are the youngest PM among the lots, but here i can see white hair on your head, does that mean you are just blessed with white hair?
This is not the first time people will actually say that to me, when I finished my fellowship, one of the first challenges that came my way was that I finished my post graduate program before the mandated time.  That I was given seven years or thereabout to do my research and I finished two years before the time. So, I had to stay for that whole two years before being appointed as a fellow. So, it has always been my lot, so when it was mentioned by the Chief Servant (Former Governor of Niger State) and people were saying that I am the youngest and this, I said ‘yes, this is not the first time’.

Dr. Makusidi to Asabeafrika...'People have turned Niger State to a Health Tourist destination because we give cheap medical solution to Nigerians'

But in truth, how old is Dr. Makusidi?
(Exclaimed) I am not old, you can see glaringly. Although I am not a young man, at 40, who will now say you are young? (My White hair) is a gift from God and it is one of those things that make people to wonder at my personality. So I am not a young man neither am I an old man. I am just me.

Dr. Makusidi to Asabeafrika...'Niger State has become a  for medical tourists because our health plan is cheap'

Lastly, sir, how do you think we can reform our medical sector in Nigeria in order to bring sanity into it so that our elites will stop flying abroad for little health issues that could be treated in Nigeria?
The issue all boils to ourselves! Ourselves!! Ourselves!!! Now, let us have it right, that is one thing. What is right should be done right; we have the talent, we have the money, we have the discretion and freedom to use it right, so, why can’t we invest in health sector? It takes small money; the surgery services I told you we offer at IBB Specialist Hospital, Minna, if you go to a private hospital, it cost almost Two Million Naira. But if you come here it doesn’t cost more than a hundred and fifty thousand or thereabout. Our dialysis service if you are to go abroad, how much would it cost you? Psychologically, your best clinic is your home. If you are to have a treatment in Egypt and you equally have the same opportunity to have it in Minna, Minna is your house, it is your village and your whatever. Your children would file around you; at least seeing them alone brings relief. Even the food you are going to eat also matter to your health. So, everybody needs to pay his bit. Not government alone, the healthcare providers, the politicians, the civil right societies. Everybody has something to contribute to the good health system debate so that we can reposition our health sector in Nigeria. It is not a one way thing, it is everybody’s concern and my advice is that, we should all put our heads together as a family to build the health sector and we would have build a greater Nigeria together.  A healthy citizen is a productive citizen.

Dr. Makusidi Mohammed Mohammed to Asabeafrika...'I am a man of 3-3-3'

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